Take a look a the FDAs following table which outlines treatment methods for controlling food related risks.
FDAs Summary of Literature Findings on Microbiological Safety Issues and Preventive Controls
Fresh and fresh-cut produce
- Manure and biosolids
- Water for agricultural uses
- Improper postharvest packing, cooling, and storage practices
Preventive Controls Suggested
- Temperature control
- Physical removal of microorganisms
- Use of effective GRAS cleaning agents
- Ozone treatment
It should be noted that ozone is the only oxidant specifically mentioned by name for controlling microbiological issues. It is most likely due to the fact that ozone work so well at reducing microbiological counts on produce. Applying a minimal amount of ozone in either gas or aqueous form can achieve impressive results.
To see the actual FDA document, click on the link below:
To learn more about how ozone can help you, see this food processing page.
The most common residential use for ozone is removing offensive smells and odors from homes. The odors vary (skunk, smoke, pet smell, etc) and homes vary, so the exact treatment can vary according to your specific situation, but several rules of thumb will always apply:
Fix the Problem (if one exists)
Skunk living under your house causing a skunk odor? That’s a problem. Water constantly leaking in your basement allowing mold to grow? That is also a problem. These types of situations need to be remedied before using an ozone generator, so ask around and see what needs to be done (even if it means contacting a professional). If such a problem is allowed to continue, the smell will never really go away regardless of treatment.
Remove the Source of the Odor (as Best as Possible)
As effective as it is, ozone is not a magical odor removal tool. There is almost always some level of preliminary cleaning that needs to take place before using ozone. Many times this cleaning has been done before people start investigating ozone, but there are certainly cases where the process has not yet begun. To use an exaggerated example, one would not expect odor to be permanently removed from a room if a pile of rotting meat was left in the middle of the floor – there would simply be too much material left emitting odor. Similarly, if untreated pet stains exist in a carpet or if untreated nicotine/ smoke residue is coating walls and ceilings, then those odors will likely come back over time even after an ozone treatment.
What you need to remember is that ozone breaks down odor at a molecular level, so over the course of an ozone treatment you need to produce enough ozone molecules to react with all of the odor-causing molecules in your house. The better you have cleaned the source, the better the ozone will treat the scent that remains.
Again, cleanup strategies will vary from case to case so do some Google’ing or call us for advice on how to get started.
Ozone Usage – Starting the Generator
Before starting your ozone generator, you will want to consider what areas need to be treated and the size of your generator. As always, start by reviewing and following the Safety Precautions outlined below! If you only need to treat a single room (or if you only have a small generator) then you will want to place the generator in the room, plug it in, turn it on, and then exit the room. When you close the door, place a folded towel along the bottom to help seal the gap between the door and the floor.
If instead you are going to treat an entire house or apartment, you will likely need to make plans to stay elsewhere for the duration of the treatment. You will then need to setup your generator to maximize ozone movement through the entire dwelling, or make plans to stop in during treatment and move the generator so that over the course of the treatment each area gets adequate exposure. The section on fans and airflow is good knowledge for anyone treating a house.
Ozone Usage – Fans and Airflow
Using fans to help distribute air during an ozone treatment can help ensure that all of the rooms and corners of a house get exposure. Always keep in mind that ozonated air is slightly heavier than the air we breathe, so in a two-story structure it is easier for ozone to come down from the upper floors rather than moving up. In rooms with high ceilings, fans may be necessary to ensure that your ceiling gets treated.
If your house or apartment has a forced air (central air) system, another strategy is to pump the ozone throughout the house using your air ducts. Generally these systems have an air intake (or several), which flow through a filter before they go back through the rest of the house. What you can do is remove the filter (dirty filters hold odor, so you will want to replace this after treatment anyways), then setup the generator right next to the main air intake. Then when you turn the AC/Heater fan to “On” (rather than “Auto”), the fan should run continuously, pulling ozone directly into the ducts and distributing it to any area of the house with vents. This has the side effect of deodorizing your ducts as well, which are often known for holding odors.
Ozone Usage – Shutting off the Generator
When your treatment time is done, or when you need to turn off and/or move the ozone generator, it is best to use a multi-step approach.
- Hold your breath, enter the area, and shut off the machine.
- Wait 30 – 45 minutes for the ozone to break down.
- Help the area air out by opening doors and windows and turning fans on. (If the fans and forced air system fan were used for the time of treatment, they can be left on for the airing out process as well)
HINT: If your generator has a timer, you can have it shut off at a particular time – giving the ozone time to break down before you show up to air things out.
HINT: Another approach is to use an extension cord to plug the generator into an easily accessible outlet. That way, a person can avoid most of step 1, needing to reach into the house to unplug the cord at most.
Ozone Safety Precautions – Pets, Plants and People
In concentrated doses, ozone is a respiratory irritant that can cause a tickle in your throat or a bout of coughing depending on how much you breathe in. When using an ozone generator, always take care to keep pets, plants and people (the 3 P’s) out of the area that is being treated.
In serious cases where an entire house is treated nonstop for 7 days straight, this could mean vacating the house and relocating your pets and plants to another location for a week. In other instances, people are able to run a generator while they are gone working then return home to air out the house and spend evenings at home.
If instead one room is being treated at a time, it is generally safe to be in the house during treatment as long as the room is relatively sealed and the 3 P’s avoid that area.
Ozone Safety Precautions – Asthma
This situation deserves it’s own section. As a respiratory irritant, ozone has a more pronounced effect on asthmatics. As a precaution, people with asthma should take care to avoid ozone treatment areas entirely. If there is nobody available to help shut off and air out the ozone for you, refer to the extension cord idea mentioned above and give the ozone plenty of time to break down before entering the area.